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1.25 - Unibet Brocklesby Conditions Stakes (5f)
The new season begins with a clash of ten newcomer two-year-olds over the straight five-furlongs on their first day at school. Nothing to lean on in terms of form here and so, as it can often be on this card at Doncaster, the betting will provide a must-see accompaniment.
Richard Fahey saddles Vintage Clarets in his attempt to win this race for a fifth time. The Ardad colt is bred to be speedy and should be on the premises for Paul Hanagan. George Boughey proved himself adept at getting young horses ready last season and Forca Brasil looks a likely sort on paper for him, being a son of Cotai Glory and a half-brother to a winning juvenile sprinter in Muker.
Kevin Ryan's youngsters are always capable of winning races, Makalu is worthy of a place on the shortlist but a chance if given to WONDERFUL WORLD for the Mick Channon team. The Bungle Inthejungle should stay further than this in time but his trainer won this race in 2018 and James Doyle's mount should give a good account.
2.00 - Unibet Doncaster Mile Stakes (1m)
A full-flow Space Traveller would set the bar high for these rivals and his debut success here remains his only Doncaster start. He had just a single outing in 2020 and was far from disgraced in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. He can certainly go well on his comeback, but there are some possible progressive rivals to fear.
Amongst them are the filly Bounce The Blues, Group 3-placed here last season after joining Andrew Balding from Ireland, and FATHER OF JAZZ for the Roger Varian team.
The Newmarket handler has bagged this prize three times in the last four renewals and Kingman colt is race-fit from his all-weather exploits recently. He ran well when second in a hot 1m2f Sandown maiden last July in his one turf start and picked up three wins in four starts on the all-weather circuit from late December through to last month's Winter Derby third at Lingfield - a race that probably did not pan out to best effect for him. There's very likely still more in his locker.
Fellow four-year-old Juan Elcano rates amongst those with more to offer this season, while five-year-olds Montatham, Beat Le Bon and Top Rank cannot be dismissed in confidence - though the last-named is inconvenienced here by the concession of a 5lb penalty to the field for September's soft-ground Group 3 win at Haydock.
2.35 - Unibet Spring Mile Handicap (1m)
Arctic Vega was very determined at Newcastle in January to come with a strong late run and win for the Andrew Balding team. With only five starts behind him, he seems sure to improve again in the coming months and his new mark could be negotiable with William Carver booked to take 5lb off on this return to the grass. He's worth plenty consideration.
So, too, is Home Before Dusk after some pleasing efforts on the all-weather now returned to turf from a declining mark. Things didn't go to plan in two turf runs last season for Acquitted after a promising all-weather comeback at Newcastle in June behind Group 1 winner-in-waiting Palace Pier. The Hugo Palmer-trained runner is too talented to be dismissing.
POET'S LADY might be one to note down near the bottom of the handicap. She won a Haydock novice over a mile on soft ground in July last year and then finished second to subsequent Listed winner Freyja up at Hamilton in September. On that evidence a mark of 79 should not prevent a win looming for David Barron-trained filly, especially should she prove suited to this better ground on her seasonal comeback (has gone well fresh before).
3.10 - Unibet Lincoln (Heritage Handicap, 1m)
A field of 22 are scheduled to take to Town Moor for the Lincoln as it returns from the Covid-enforced hiatus of 2020. Worth recalling that the previous two winners - Addeybb and Auxerre - were very well backed for this race and so those to the front of the market demand plenty respect.
James Doyle was on board the previous two winners and he has the call on last month's Meydan winner Eastern World for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin here. The yard has won this race twice since 2016 and this gelded son of Dubawi looks a player on that last-time-out success.
Threatening him in the market is Haqeeqy, the flagship runner this weekend for the new father/son training alliance of John and Thady Gosden. He was a decisive winner at the St Leger Festival here in the autumn and goes straight on the shortlist.
Brentford Hope was thought a Derby contender at one stage last year before a setback scuppered him, Richard Hughes' charge was impressive to say the least at Haydock in October when last spotted. He's 9lb higher now and the drying ground poses a question him for him, while it's also near certain he'll need to prove his willingness to get in a scrap here.
Grove Ferry has course form to lean on and Andrew Balding's four-year-old gelding is fit and well on the back of last month's winning return at Lingfield. He's raised 5lb for that, though William Carver's claim balances the books, and he looks an each-way contender.
The vote in the Lincoln goes to KING OTTOKAR for trainer Charlie Fellowes. He failed to get his head in front during a five-race sequence in 2020 but the opening three races of that campaign came in Group 3/Listed company. He was without luck in a C&D handicap in September (fifth) when meeting traffic and it was a similar tale on Champions Day at Ascot a month later when meeting plenty trouble for a poor draw in the Balmoral Handicap.
Ben Curtis returns in the saddle here and is 2-4 on King Ottokar previously. First-time cheekpieces are also in play and he's one that won't mind slightly quicker ground. He could be capable of taking out a race like this and won on his reappearance in 2019 off a similar break so he's taken to hit the ground running.
3.45 - Unibet Cammidge Trophy Stakes (Listed, 6f)
Old-stager Brando heads up the betting for this Listed sprint and there's no doubting he retains the ability to be a threat. He came within a nose of landing the Group 1 Champions Sprint at Ascot in October (soft ground) but was then disappointing as favourite over this C&D on his final start. He was a mixed bag in 2020, befitting his veteran status, and is probably worth taking on as favourite now.
Last summer's Stewards Cup hero Summerghand is a player for David O'Meara, though his running style does demand that things drop just right for him late on.
Perhaps the now-gelded EMARAATY ANA can get on the scoresheet here for Kevin Ryan and Andrea Atzeni. The five-year-old was third in Group 3/Listed races at Newmarket and Chester last season before finding the Nunthorpe at York a bridge too far. He's undergone a wind operation since then and is one that will be suited by the quicker than normal ground for the commencement of the Flat season.
Tis Marvellous goes well fresh but might find others finishing stronger over this 6f trip, while Mr Lupton is another well capable of having his best stuff first time up and he deserves to be in the thick of this on the balance of his 2020 form which came in some devilish handicaps and included landing a ?75k pot on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh in September over this trip on good ground.
4.20 - 32Red Casino Maiden Stakes (1m2f)
A quartet of these went close on their last starts, finishing second. They are Alpine Stroll, Dhushan, Sevenal and Too Friendly on racecard order.
Dhushan was a long way clear of the remainder when inched out by Star Caliber at Goodwood (1m, good) in September. That form hasn't proved overly strong, but clearly he may improve for the debut showing and trainer William Haggas has his team in fine fettle.
Sevenal, also by Sea The Stars, was a debut second on heavy ground at Newmarket in the autumn and while three of those behind him have won since on the all-weather, he must now prove himself on this quicker surface. It would be no shock if he does just that, and Team Gosden have opted for the 7lb claim of Benoit De La Sayette here.
TOO FRIENDLY might be the one to nail both. He was caught on the line after making what looked a race-winning move at Lingfield over this trip last time. He moved very strongly into contention and perhaps, with his time over, Callum Shepherd might have delayed that surge forward. The Camelot colt can have a big say on his turf bow.
Debutants Khaiz for Charlie Appleby, Line Of Descent for Simon & Ed Crisford and Uccello for Karl Burke command close scrutiny in the betting.
Selection: Too Friendly
Next Best: Sevenal
4.55 - 32Red.com Apprentice Handicap Division 1 (1m2f)
Lots of chances in the pair of apprentice handicaps to bring down the curtain on the Flat return at Doncaster.
Selecto has made the move to Mick Channon over the winter and could be on a workable mark. The Paco Boy gelding is yet to get his head in front but has shown promise at times.
It's a trio of fillies that take most interest in Division 1 of this however. Lady Ironside was well held in her Lingfield debut for this trainer at the start of the month. That came over 1m5f however and she drops in trip now with the talented Benoit De La Sayette taking some handy weight off and first-time cheekpieces added.
Finally Mine is lightly-raced and should build on her comeback at Wolverhampton this month. Her best turf form last season was on soft ground, so any rain that might fall would be an aid.
KOOLA BUALA is the selection for trainer George Scott. The Raven's Pass filly knocked on the door in Irish maidens last summer over 1m-1m2f on ground ranging from good-heavy. She wasn't untouched in the betting for last month's stable/all-weather debut at Wolverhampton but never really managed to get into the race after a slow start (tended to race prominently in Ireland). A mark of 72 certainly doesn't preclude her now and she's got a good partner in Angus Villiers.
5.25 - 32Red.com Apprentice Handicap Division 2 (1m2f)
Tyler Heard and Charlie Arthur were emphatic winners of a four-runner Southwell contest (1m4f) on the Fibresand this month and need respecting for a Richard Hughes team in flying form currently. All five career wins (5-20) have however come on artificial surfaces. This much lower turf rating does make the Slade Power gelding a fascinating contender.
Top-weight Mr Coco Bean is capable of getting into the mix on his seasonal comeback but might just prove vulnerable under his burden. Francisco Bay is one to note, with his record on the back of an absence appealing and he joins Noble Peace and Hot Team on the shortlist, the latter having shaped better on the Polytrack at Lingfield last time.
O'REILLY'S PASS shaped with some purpose last season for David Elsworth, including when second in a Lingfield turf handicap over 1m3½f (good) in September. There was no luck for him subsequently in two all-weather starts around Kempton but it's not inconceivable he can have a say on first outing for Ruth Carr and the four-year-old is set to be a decent price. He's got less marks against him than a few of these and time remains on his side.